7 Licensing tips for Locum Tenens Physicians

While a physician requires licensure to practice within their state, working locum tenens calls for a strategic and proactive license application approach. One needs special considerations to position themselves for quick recruitments to fill a temporary medical position. 

In this article, we’ll give you seven practical tips for organizing and preparing for licensing in order to open up more locum tenens opportunities

Update and Organize Your Credentials

Many state health boards require applicants to meet several requirements and submit copies of certificates, transcripts, and other records. Ensure you retrieve all these papers, scan them, and create a virtual folder for them so that they are easily accessible. Many physicians suggest storing your credentialing files online using cloud-based solutions, such as Google Drive, Apple iCloud, and Dropbox. Doing so makes the application process straightforward since you can upload the documents from your mobile device at any time, anywhere. Below is a basic list of documents you’ll need:

  • Academic certificates e.g. medical school, residency certificate, and ECFMG etc.
  • Copies of state license(s)
  • Continuing medical education (CME) documents
  • DEA certificate(s)
  • Immunization records
  • Driver's license or ID
  • Malpractice records (if applicable)

Have Your Document in Chronological Order

Having an understanding of the specific dates during your medical career is critical. That means arranging your medical documents based on a concise chronology of activities, such as dates of employment, certification from a fellowship program, training, and written tests. Keeping papers organized by date streamlines the licensing process.

Leverage the Federation Credentials Verification Service (FCVS)

The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) established the FCVS database to provide secured online storage for physicians' verified education information. Healthcare professionals pursuing licensure can take advantage of FCVS to create their "lifetime portfolios of primary-source verified credentials" that they can retrieve anytime they want to apply for a medical license. The FCVS also makes credential information readily available for easy transfer to multiple state boards. About 15 state boards require license applicants to first undergo the FCVS and all state boards use it as a primary source of physician verified background.

Obtain At Least Two DEA Certificates

Although the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) isn't governed by state medical boards, physicians require DEA registration to prescribe controlled substances. It's impossible to practice without it, and you must have a separate DEA registration for each state you work in. This is why we highly recommend obtaining another DEA number so that you are able to maintain your primary DEA registration in the state you work the most, and can transfer your secondary DEA from state to state as needed for your locum tenens assignments.

Obtaining a new DEA license can take twice as long as transferring an existing license from one state to another, so to save yourself time, energy, and potential loss of income, consider obtaining a second or even third DEA registration for the state(s) in which you intend on working locum tenens assignments.

Apply for an IMLC License

The Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC) is an expedited licensing model that includes 29 member states, and allows physicians to provide medical solutions across state lines. The Compact is extremely advantageous, especially to locum tenens physicians, because it enables them to receive multiple separate licenses by completing just one application within the compact. Because the overall process of gaining a license is significantly streamlined within the compact, physicians receive their licenses much faster and with fewer burdens. 

Get Licensing Support with Med X

Applying for and obtaining a new state license can be a tedious and overwhelming process, but an upside to working with Med X is that you don’t have to tackle it all on your own. Not only will we facilitate the application process, but we may also be able to cover new state licensing fees. Our professional and experienced licensing and credentialing team is dedicated to making the process as quick and easy as possible so that you can focus on the important stuff: Caring for your patients. 

Be Proactive

The more licenses you have, the more opportunities you have as a locum tenens provider. Facilities typically will not wait weeks or months for a locum tenens provider to obtain a new license, so the time to start thinking about the process is now, not once a position has been offered! 

We'd love to hear any other tips you might have regarding licensing. Feel free to drop your comments or suggestions below.